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Thursday, 25th November 2021

Ambassador meets Drogheda’s Romanian community

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The Romanian Ambassador to Ireland, his Excellency Laurentiu -Mihai Steffan, pictured with the Mayor of Drogheda Councillor James Byrne and children from the local Romanian community Daria Buscan, Ayline and Kayla Gheorghui  at the reception hosted by the Romanian Community at Millmount. Photo: Jimmy Weldon.

“Drogheda is a wonderful city, I love it, I’ve received such a very warm welcome here, I’ll be back!”

The Millmount Cultural Quarter was a hive of activity yesterday as members of Drogheda’s Romanian Community played host to their country’s Ambassador to Ireland.

The Ambassador, Laurenţiu-Mihai Ştefan was accredited as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania by decree of President Klaus Lohannis on July 21, 2021 and this was his first visit to Drogheda.

Upon his arrival the Ambassador and his party were brought on a guided tour of the Milllmount tower by Chris McHugh of the Old Drogheda Society who gave his guests a fascinating account of the history of the town and region.

Ambassador Laurenţiu-Mihai Ştefan seemed particularly interested in the beautiful model of the battle of Waterloo which is on display In the basement of the Millmount tower.

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Called “The Irish Story, Waterloo 1815” the display was built to scale and all aspects of the layout , the buildings and positioning of the different regiments were historically correct.

The miniature model of the battlefield and the buildings were designed by Peter O’Leary, constructed by Noel Bailey and painted by artist Gina Petrea, a Romanian born artist now living in Drogheda. An exhibition of her paintings is currently on show at Millmount.

The Mayor of Drogheda, Councillor James Byrne, opened the commemoration in June of this year and he was there again yesterday.

Romanian Ambassador Laurentiu-Mihai Stefan (second from left), with Counsellor Georgeta Bratu (left), Millmount tour guide Chris McHugh, Elisabetha Mullan and Mihaela Balan at Millmount where the Romanian flag flew for the day. Photo: Andy Spearman.

“I was honoured with the opportunity to meet His Excellency Laurentiu-Mihai Stefan, Romanian Ambassador to Ireland, and his Minister Counsellor Georgeta Bratu” he said.

“This followed an invitation to Millmount by the Drogheda Romanian community to welcome the new Ambassador to Ireland.

“I took the opportunity to express thanks to the Romanian Government and its people for the solidarity they have shown to Ireland in recent times in relation to Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ambassador and Counsellor are shown the Battle of Waterloo exhibition in the basement of the tower at Millmount. Photo: Andy Spearman.

“Romania has supported Ireland’s position in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol and struck a deal to sell 1m vaccines to Ireland over the summer to ensure supply kept up with demand as part of Ireland’s  successful rollout of the vaccination programme.

“I wished the Ambassador well in his work at the Embassy and pledged to work with him and the wonderful Romanian community here in Drogheda for many years to come.”

Guests at yesterday’s event were treated to some delicious Romanian delicacies and drinks and some traditional Romanian music was played by Local musician and composer Michael Holohan.

The Romanian Ambassador chats with composer Michael Holohan and artist Gina Petrea. Photo: Andy Spearman.

The Ambassador told Drogheda Life that he had very much enjoyed his visit to Drogheda and to learn a bit about the rich history of the town. “It is a wonderful city, I love it” he said. “I’ve received such a very warm welcome, I’ll be back!

He added that he was delighted to meet members of the Romanian community living in Drogheda and looked forward to developing ongoing relations with them.

Mihaela Balan, a member of a committee of volunteers who had organised the event, said that they were very active trying to help Romanian people living in the Drogheda area.

The committee were delighted that the Ambassador took the time to come and meet with them and also the representatives of the town.

Mihaela told Drogheda Life that there is a big Romanian community in the Drogheda area –she put the figure at about 2,000.

The Ambassador is brought on a tour of the military dislay at Millmount tower. Photo: Andy Spearman.

“We organised the (Romanian) elections here a coupe pf years ago so we know exactly how many there are living locally” she said.

We are here to help Romanians to get to know each other and also to help them integrate within the local community.

“We organise outings and other social events to promote further interaction between newcomers from Romania and people who have settled here years ago."

The Ambassador helps himself to some Romanian style bread with, from left: Mihaela Balan, Aspacia Howard, Elena Bobeica nd Elisabeta Mullan. Photo: Andy Spearman.
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